The Supreme Court declined to hear a former Marine’s case this week in which she was court-martialed in part for refusing to remove a bible verse from her workstation.
In response to the decision by the court, First Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackelford said the decision “is going to affect the religious freedoms of all of those who serve us in uniform, and that really is a shame.”
Shackelford’s nonprofit institute is defending LCpl Monifa Sterling.
In 2013, Sterling displayed the phrase, “No weapons formed against me shall prosper” taped at her desk. When her supervisor objected to it, Sterling said it was her First Amendment right. The supervisor later tore it down, she said. She replaced it and it was removed again.
She was then court-martialed and charged with refusing an order, failing to report for duty and lying about why she didn’t wear the proper uniform. She was convicted and given a bad conduct discharge.
“The military court’s outrageous decision means federal judges and military officials can strip our service members of their constitutional rights just because they don’t think someone’s religious beliefs are important enough to be protected,” Shackelford said. “Our service members deserve better.”
The case was appealed to the Supreme Court in December.
Seven amicus briefs asked the Supreme Court to hear Sterling’s case. Those briefs were from retired military generals, state attorney general and Congress members.
Shackelford said he still plans to keep working to get Sterling’s case overturned.
“In fact it’s going to really cause us to redouble our efforts,” he said.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: June 6, 2017